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China Smog Photos Show How Bad Its Air Pollution Problem Has Become

Oct 21, 2013 | Updated Oct 21, 2013

China has a serious smog problem. So much so that the northern city of Harbin, home to about 11 million people, was forced to cancel classes, close down the airport and suspend certain bus routes Monday.

According to The Associated Press, fine particulate matter readings taken in Harbin indicate that air pollution in the area is 40 times higher than the international safety standard set by the World Health Organization.

While visibility in the capital of the Heilongjiang province was less than 50 meters (164 feet), Harbin was not the only city in the region affected by smog. In the southeastern city of Shenyang, some 300 miles from Harbin, a heavy haze partially obscured a 75-story skyscraper from view. (Head over to The Daily Beast to see a comparison to a normal view of the landmark.)

Air pollution has been an ongoing problem in the country, with thick and heavy smog often forcing local governments to suspend transportation services and shutter businesses. Earlier this month, China announced that it would offer millions in rewards to regions that could successfully reduce air pollution levels.

See photos that illustrate the extent of air pollution in Harbin in the series (courtesy of Getty) below.

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A policeman gestures as he works on a street in heavy smog in Harbin, northeast China's Heilongjiang province, on Oct. 21, 2013. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

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A man cycles in the smog in Harbin, northeast China's Heilongjiang province, on Oct. 21, 2013. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

china smog

Buildings are barely visible in heavy smog in Harbin, northeast China's Heilongjiang province, on Oct. 21, 2013. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

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A woman wearing a mask uses her mobile phone in the smog in Harbin, northeast China's Heilongjiang province, on Oct. 21, 2013. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

china smog

Streets and buildings are seen under heavy smog in Harbin, northeast China's Heilongjiang province, on Oct. 21, 2013. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

china smog

A man pushes his bike onto a bridge under heavy smog in Harbin, northeast China's Heilongjiang province, on Oct. 21, 2013. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

china smog

A woman wearing a face mask walks in heavy smog in Harbin, northeast China's Heilongjiang province, on Oct. 21, 2013. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

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